Dr. Brett Hilton

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences (CPS), University of British Columbia

Postdoctoral fellowship, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
PhD, University of British Columbia
BSc in Biology, University of British Columbia
BA in English Literature, University of British Columbia

Research Interests

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Dr. Brett Hilton is a Principal Investigator running a multidisciplinary neuroscience laboratory at ICORD. His lab seeks to identify the processes that prevent damaged neurons from regenerating following brain or spinal cord injury. They are also interested in identifying the cells and circuits that are most critical for mediating functional improvements after spinal cord injury.

Dr. Hilton’s big dream is to develop an effective treatment that regenerates the injured spinal cord and restores neurological function following spinal cord injury. “There remain no such therapies available to people with spinal cord injuries today, such that a regenerative therapy for spinal cord injury remains a critical unmet need of the Canadian healthcare system. I’m hopeful that in the next 20 years, our understanding of spinal cord regeneration progresses to such a point that a treatment that is effective at restoring neurological function has emerged,” says Dr. Hilton.

To achieve these goals, the Hilton lab combines bioinformatic, cellular, and molecular approaches together with models of injury and advanced microscopy techniques.

Learn more about Dr. Hilton’s research and the Hilton Lab on their website at hiltonlab.ca/research.html.

Multidisciplinary techniques employed in the lab include:

  • Molecular: transcriptomics, genetic loss and gain-of-function experiments, gene cloning
  • Cellular: cell culture, live cell and in vivo imaging, electroporation
  • Circuit: viral tracing, tissue clearing and 3D imaging analysis, optogenetics, chemogenetics
  • Behavioural: Motor and sensory function analyses, assessing efficacy of candidate regenerative treatments


Some of Dr. Hilton’s recent major awards and accomplishments include:

  • Scholar Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2023)
  • Brain Canada Future Leader in Canadian Brain Research Award, Brain Canada Foundation
  • John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), Canada Foundation for Innovation

Current lab members

L-R: Naomi Huang, Sam Duenwald, Isa Samad, Duo Cheng, Dr. Brett Hilton, Dr. Timo Friedman, Hanna Tagomori

Undergraduates Master’s Students PhD Students Postdoctoral Fellows Research Staff
Naomi Huang

Isa Samad

Hanna Tagomori

Dr. Timo Friedman Duo Cheng
Samuel Duenwald


Recent publications

  • Hilton, BJ et al.. 2022. An active vesicle priming machinery suppresses axon regeneration upon adult CNS injury.. Neuron. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.10.007.
  • Stern, S et al.. 2021. RhoA drives actin compaction to restrict axon regeneration and astrocyte reactivity after CNS injury.. Neuron. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.08.014.
  • Hilton, BJ, Bradke, F. 2020. Growing Myelin around Regenerated Axons after CNS Injury.. Neuron. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.10.033.
  • Dupraz, S et al.. 2019. RhoA Controls Axon Extension Independent of Specification in the Developing Brain.. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.040.
  • Duncan, GJ et al.. 2020. The fate and function of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells after traumatic spinal cord injury.. Glia. doi: 10.1002/glia.23706.
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